Cities across China have introduced new sets of regulations on dog ownership since an incident involving a woman trying to protect her child from an unleashed dog ended in a brutal physical confrontation in Hangzhou on November 6. Most notably, Hangzhou and Chengdu municipal governments have been introducing harsh measures in a large crackdown on uncivilized owners that include the restriction of dog walking hours and bans on certain breeds.
Though it's not clear whether this clampdown of man’s best friend will soon interest Beijing too, pet owners in the capital should brush up on the existing regulations regarding dog ownership in the city.
We've put together a handy guide to get you up to speed on these regulations and how to properly register your dog in Beijing.
Current regulations on dog ownership in Beijing:
At present, there is no sign of the Beijing municipal government wanting to introduce new policies following the Hangzhou incident. Recently, the Beijing Public Security Bureau only published a notice on its Weibo account reminding dog owners to always keep dogs on a leash, together with an instructional video on how to choose the best leash for your dog.
This comes as no surprise as dog ownership in Beijing is already tightly regulated, with restrictions on the size and breeds of the dogs allowed in the capital already in place since the release of the 2003 regulations on dog ownership.
While there are no designated times during the day to walk one’s dog, Beijing dwellers are not allowed to do so in Tiananmen Square, Dong Chang’an Jie and Xi Chang’an Jie and in any other areas if notified by the municipal government. Also, dogs are not allowed in a number of public places such as markets, shops, hospitals and, to the anger of Beijingers, public parks. Yes, Beijing’s beautiful parks and gardens are unfortunately off-limits for our canine companions.
The ownership of only one dog is allowed for every household address. This means that dogs in the city are not registered to an individual, but to the address on a lease contract or property deed. Owners of more than one dog can thus opt for having a relative or a friend to register their dogs at their household address.
While Beijing has not released a list of forbidden breeds, "large size and aggressive breeds" are not permitted inside the eight districts of strict enforcement of the regulation, namely Chaoyang, Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chongwen, Xuanwu, Haidian, Fengtai and Shijingshan. Veterinarians have the last say on which dogs are of large size, but the official rule used to determine this is the height of pets, which must not exceed 35cm when measured from the ground to the shoulder.
How to register your dog in Beijing:
Registering one’s dog is the only legal way of owning a pet in Beijing. The procedure is pretty straightforward, and you can read about it in depth on the Beijing municipal government website or visit the International Centre for Veterinary Services (ICVS), that published a handy guide in English.
1. Get a vaccination certificate for your pet
All dogs are required to have a rabies vaccination annually. Also, make sure the pet hospital you choose has an official license to do so and proper registration from the State Food & Drug Administration (SFDA).
2. Register your dog at your local police station
You can ask your management company, your landlord or your neighbors which police station oversees your neighborhood. You’ll need to bring a valid ID, the lease for your rented apartment and two photos of your dog. You will then be required to fill in a registration form.
Important notice: Each household is only allowed to register one dog. If you have more than one, you will need to find someone else to register your pet under another household address for you.
3. Pay the registration fee
The price for the initial registration is RMB1000 and RMB500 for the yearly renewal.
4. Remember to renew your dog's registration annually
Yep, an annual renewal of the registration is required. Dog licenses expire April 30 each year. The annual dog registration period starts from May 1 and ends on June 30, during which dog owners are required to submit their pet to a medical check, a free anti-rabies vaccination and obtain a ‘dog health certificate’ to submit to the police.
Make sure to use common sense in everyday situations. We suggest you always keep your dog on a leash at all times while outside and not to walk it in forbidden areas. It’s safe to assume a stricter application of the rules in the following weeks. Last but not least, always clean after your dog. Nobody wants harsher regulations, right?
While for now there is nothing to report on changes of the current regulations in Beijing, you can follow the Beijing Municipal Security Bureau’s WeChat (@平安北京) and Weibo account for any changes to the existing rules.
Fines for any improper behavior, lack of registration or for owning a dog larger than the permitted size inside the eight districts listed above may result in fines up to RMB5000.
We, as you, love all dogs, and have been reporting on the latest incident and any updates.
[All images via Pexels]